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RA FOR ALL...THE ROAD SHOW!

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Library Reads: November 2017

I am still at the ILA Conference and will have Day 3’s report up later tonight [or maybe tomorrow], but I wanted to take a moment to remind you that it is Library Reads Announcement Day. And, as you can see below, I have been trying to get us all to do better for the last few months.


AND, I am happy to report, that this month’s list seems to show that you have been listening to me. I am so glad. I also secretly hope that you loved City of Brass so much because I alerted you to it back in June at ALA. 

We cannot rest on our laurels. We are better, but not perfect. [For example, I love Lee Child too, but does he really need the extra push?] So here we go again......

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This is your monthly Library Reads announcement.

I usually just cut and paste the same intro each month, but for the next few months I am amending it with this long introduction. I want to address the fact that Library Reads has been called out for their lists being too "white." While this is a fair criticism, blaming Library Reads is not fair because Library Reads and their Steering Committee are only the ones running the website, coordinating the eArc process, and counting the votes, the voters who pick the books are ALL OF YOU!!!! [Seriously, Steering Committee members votes do not come into play. I looked into it.]

So that means all of you-- all of us-- are falling down on the job of nominating more diverse titles-- both in terms of the ethnicity and race of the author and the genres represented. So I think the problem requires action in a two pronged strategy.

First, we need more of you to participate, especially those of you who read more diversely and widely. Basically Library Reads needs new blood. Library reads is SUPER EASY to participate in, yet despite that, as I travel the country meeting all of you, many of you do not participate and surprisingly, a lot of you don't even now how to begin. So, we are going to fix that. Here's the recording of a LibraryReads webinar on how to participate.

But one fallacy about Library Reads is that you have to write a full annotation in order for your vote to be counted. That is not true. You just need to read [or honestly skim] the eARC and then rate the book and submit your vote to Library Reads. But the webinar will explain it all.

I know many of you have not gotten involved because you thought that it was too difficult. I am here to tell you it is not. So let's get some new people submitting votes. It only takes a few new people to make a big difference. I am calling on you, my readers [and there are close to a thousand of you a day] to step up and make your voices heard.

[On a side note, while Library Reads will not release how many votes it takes for a book to make the list, a publishing rep [not a big 5] told me confidentially that she has gone back and crunched the numbers that she has seen for her titles and she estimates that about 40-45 votes gets you on the list. But to be number one, she has no idea because one of her books hasn't ever been number one.]


Second, stop voting for the obvious books. I know you like the big name authors. We all do, but seriously people, voting for big name, huge bestselling authors over and over again is helping no one. Looking at the list below for August 2017, WHY is Louise Penny taking a spot from a less well known author. Look don't get me wrong. I LOVE Louise Penny [proof here]. For goodness sake, if you go on NoveList and see the author appeal statement for her-- I WROTE THAT. So I am not dissing her. I adore her novels. But seriously is there a library worker in America who hasn't hear of Louise Penny AND who doesn't have this author on automatic hold already? NO!

We are Library Reads. We need to do better. Library Reads needs to be more proactive in helping library workers identify the great books we wouldn't know about without this resource. Don't squander the opportunity to read a great under the radar title- early and for free- and to then pass it on to others. Read Louise Penny early for yourself, but spend your time voting for the titles that will not find an audience without your expert help.

If we keep voting for the mainstream titles, the publishers will keep spending money signing similar authors, but if we use our power to vote for more diverse and less mainstream works that we know our patrons would love, titles that no one would know about without us raising our voice to be heard, we can make great change. We can force the publishers to sign more diverse authors and we can get some great reads into more library collections, and we can have a backlist archive of great titles for all readers.

I am not going to tell you what to vote for though. I want you-- all of you-- to decide for yourselves. Me telling you would be as bad as the publishers forcing titles on us [which they already do]. The more voices we can gather who each independently choose the books that they are passionate about, the better the list will be. It will be more diverse by default when more of us use this two pronged approach that I have outlined today.

Remember, Library Reads is not a nebulous group of librarians lording over us-- it is you, me, your co-workers. It is up to us to do the right thing here because goodness knows, the publishers aren't going to do it unless we force them to.

Let's work together to make Library Reads more diverse and reflective of the full range of great books that are coming down the pike, then when we go to use these lists as a backlist tool we have an ever better resource at our fingertips.


[Now back to your regular Library Reads message.]

Library Reads day means 3 things here on RA for All.

  1. I post the list and tag it “Library Reads” so that you can easily pull up every single list with one click.
  2. I can remind you that even though the newest list is always fun to see, it is the older lists where you can find AWESOME, sure bet suggestions for patrons that will be on your shelf to actually hand to them right now. The best thing about Library Reads is the compound interest it is earning. We now have hundreds and hundreds of titles worth suggesting right at our fingertips.
  3. You have no excuse not to hand sell any Library Reads titles because there is a book talk right there in the list in the form of the annotation one of your colleagues wrote for you. All you have to say to your patron is, “such and such library worker in blank state thought this was a great read,” and then you read what he or she said.

So get out there and suggest a good read to someone today. I don’t care what list or resource you use to find the suggestion, just start suggesting books. 


November 2017 LibraryReads

Artemis: A Novel

by Andy Weir

Published:11/14/2017 by Crown
ISBN: 9780553448122
“Weir’s second book does not disappoint! The setting is Artemis, a city on the moon where a young woman named Jazz is a smuggler and a courier trying to eke out a living. Adventure unfolds as Jazz is asked to do a different sort of job by her millionaire employer. He asks her to sabotage the mining operation that provides the city’s entire oxygen requirements. She works out a plan, but several calamities befall and all is not what it seems. Jazz must risk her life to save the city that is her home. A fast paced adventure from start to nail-biting finish!”
Cynde Suite, Bartow County Library, Cartersville, GA

The City of Brass: A Novel

by S. A. Chakraborty

Published: 11/14/2017 by Harper Voyager
ISBN: 9780062678102
“A wonderful fantasy debut set in an 18th century Cairo and featuring a young woman, Nahri, who has no relatives and who lives by her wits as a con artist. Her odd supernatural healing talents and ability to understand and speak languages come in handy as she struggles to survive day by day while trying to save up money for medical training. Unfortunately, during one job, she accidentally calls up inimical ifrits and a wily, handsome djinn that turn her life upside down. Action packed, with interesting folklore and an evocative setting.”
Ann-Marie Anderson, Tigard Public Library, Tigard, OR

The Story of Arthur Truluv: A Novel

by Elizabeth Berg

Published: 11/21/2017 by Random House
ISBN: 9781400069903
“Arthur meets Maddy when he’s visiting his dead wife in the cemetery; he eats lunch there every day. Maddy is a high school senior who’s got a hopeless crush on a jerk. Warm-hearted Arthur reaches out to Maddy in a totally open way, as Maddy’s parents seem uninvolved at best. The Story of Arthur Truluv is one of those rare coming-of-age novels that is just as much about the end of life as it is about growing up.”
Michelle Beckes, Tulsa City County Library, Tulsa, OK 

The Library at the Edge of the World:
A Novel

by Felicity Hayes-McCoy

Published: 11/14/2017 by Harper Perennial
ISBN: 9780062663726
“Much like a cup of tea and a cozy afghan, The Library at The Edge of the World is the perfect book to hunker down with. Prepare to be transported to coastal Ireland with Hannah Casey as she moves back to her hometown after a wrenching divorce and becomes the local librarian. Hannah’s daily challenges include dealing with an abrasive mother, an infuriating building contractor, and noise in the library. A series of events leads Hannah to help rally the community to come together, changing the town, the library, and Hannah. Hayes-McCoy does a fine job capturing the characters and the setting. I look forward to reading more in this series.”
Elizabeth Angelastro, Manilus Library, Manilus, NY

Someone to Wed

by Mary Balogh

Published: 11/7/2017 by Berkley/Jove
ISBN: 9780399586064
Someone to Wed is the third in Balogh’s Regency era Wescott series. Wren has lived her life hiding from society due to a prominent birthmark. Alexander inherits a title and a pile of debts. Wren and Alexander decide to embark on a marriage of convenience as a way to resolve their issues. This is a charming story of two people falling in love and finding their happily ever after, while resolving emotional issues along the way.  A well written story with glimpses of characters from previous books in the series.”
Shayera Tangri, Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, CA

The Midnight Line: A Jack Reacher Novel

by Lee Child

Published: 11/7/2017 by Delacorte Press
ISBN: 9780399593482
“Jack Reacher is an honorably discharged U.S. Army major who has a strong sense of justice.  After the end of a romance, Reacher’s response is to get on a bus and ride it to wherever it is going.  At a rest stop along the way, he spots a small West Point class ring in the window of a pawnshop.  His gut tells him the soldier who worked hard to achieve it wouldn’t give it up easily. In search of answers, he discovers a drug ring, a disfigured woman, and a couple of murders in a desolate area of Wyoming.  Like the other installments in the Reacher series, this is another page turner!”  
Valerie Osborne, Bangor Public Library, Bangor, ME

Future Home of the Living God: A Novel

by Louise Erdrich

Published: 11/14/2017 by Harper
ISBN: 9780062694058
Future Home of the Living God explores the possibility of evolution reversing and is told from the perspective of a pregnant woman who is writing a journal to her unborn child. Along the way we meet her adoptive parents, her birth mother, and she reports on society unraveling and detaining pregnant women. Erdrich provides compelling characters and a strong storyline about a near future in this piece of innovative dystopian fiction.”
Ian Stade, Hennepin County Library, Minneapolis, MN 

Heather, the Totality

by Matthew Weiner
Published: 11/7/2017 by Little, Brown and Company
ISBN: 9780316435314

“Mark and Karen start a seemingly charmed life that becomes even more so with the birth of their gifted daughter Heather.Things take an alarming turn when renovations begin in their building. They have always known how special their daughter is, but will Heather see that there is danger lurking outside the world they have created for her when others become captivated by her gifts? Weiner has an insight into human nature that most of us would rather not admit exists and he takes you down a dark road that you don’t want to travel, but somehow can’t turn back.”  
Selena Swink, Lake Public Library, Lake, MS 

Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder

by Caroline Fraser

Published: 11/21/2017 by Metropolitan Books
ISBN: 9781627792769
“This book, written by the editor of the Library of America edition of the Little House books, is a thoroughly researched biography of not only Laura Ingalls Wilder, but of her daughter, Rose. Using unpublished manuscripts, letters, financial records, and more, Fraser gives fresh insight into the life of a woman beloved to many. Intensively researched, this is definitely a fascinating read, and one that I plan on reading again — maybe the next time I re-read the Little House series.”
Jennifer Ohzourk, St. Louis Public Library, St. Louis, MO 

The Shadow District: A Thriller

by Arnaldur Indridason

Published: 11/7/2017 by Minotaur Books
ISBN: 9781250124029
“Indridason introduces a new crime series featuring a retired detective. The Shadow District skillfully weaves two mysteries together. In present time, an elderly man’s death, first thought to be due to natural causes, is later revealed as a murder. While unofficially investigating, Konrad discovers a link to a cold case involving the strangulation of a young woman and a surprising connection to Konrad’s own childhood. With nicely tense pacing and a vivid portrayal of life in modern and wartime Iceland, fans of atmospheric investigations will undoubtedly welcome Indridason’s latest offering.”
Sharon Layburn, South Huntington Public Library, Huntington Station, NY

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